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Ranking the Contenders: Five-star guard AJ Johnson

AJ Johnson
AJ Johnson (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

Five-star guard AJ Johnson is heading down the final stretch of his recruitment as he starts his senior season. He’s got plenty of options – both college and professional – on the table as he approaches a decision.

Let’s take a look at how the contenders currently rank for Johnson’s services.

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1A. Texas 

By all accounts, the Longhorns had a great visit when they hosted Johnson and his family in early September. Chris Beard and his staff have made the five-star guard a top priority in the 2023 class and are focusing on him to be the cornerstone piece to the class in the backcourt.

Pace of play will play a big factor in where Johnson decides to play, as he likes to play at an up-and-down speed, where he’s at his best. The Longhorns will likely need to show improvement in that category early in this season to seal the deal.

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1B. Louisville

Johnson will be on an official visit to Louisville for their ‘Louisville Live’ event on Oct. 21. Head coach Kenny Payne has done an excellent job of recruiting Johnson, and assistant coach Nolan Smith has been right there alongside him.

Louisville needs guards on its roster and it needs them quickly. In terms of fit and immediate need, there’s definitely a case to be made that the Cardinals are at the top of that list. What better way for Payne to kick off his first full recruiting class than by hauling in a top 10 talent in the backcourt?

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3. LSU  

Sources have told Rivals that Johnson had a good visit to Baton Rouge, but that the Tigers are a little off of the lead as it stands today. They were at Donda Academy to see the five-star guard this week and are continuing to heavily pursue his services. The Tigers can be seen as a dark horse at this time, but work still has to be done on their end to make up ground.

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4. G-League Ignite/overseas  

If Johnson’s body continues to fill out, the chances become stronger that he could pursue the pro route rather than heading to college. Johnson and his family are already familiar with the G-League Ignite program, as his good friend and ‘big brother’ Jalen Green had a fantastic experience with the program, which helped to maintain his NBA Draft stock after high school.

Overseas options will be on the table until the end for Johnson as well.

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5. The field 

NC State, Alabama, Gonzaga, Kansas and Arizona State are lobbying to get Johnson’s last two visits, a source tells Rivals. NC State has been recruiting Johnson hard for a long time. Alabama plays an up-and-down style that fits Johnson’s game.

Johnson’s family believes that Gonzaga is a good fit, but it depends on who returns. Kansas has the platform that’s really appealing to him. And his family believes Arizona State’s Bobby Hurley would continue to develop his point guard skills.